U.S. attorney probing Christie has opened wallet to Democrats
January 9th, 2014
04:08 PM ET
12 months ago

U.S. attorney probing Christie has opened wallet to Democrats

Washington (CNN) - Paul J. Fishman, the U.S. attorney tasked with looking into New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s bridge controversy, has donated to several Democratic politicians and organizations, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Most notably, Fishman – who was nominated for the post by President Barack Obama in June 2009 – donated to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign on June 30, 2007. At the time of the contribution, Clinton was battling then-Sen. Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. Fishman donated $2,300 to Clinton, according to the FEC.

Fishman also supported then-Sen. John Kerry – who ran for president in 2004 – with a $500 contribution on June 25, 2003, and another donation of $1,200 on July 24, 2003.

All of Fishman’s campaign donations, according to the FEC, appear to have come during his time in private practice and all were directed to Democrats.

Rebekah Carmichael, public affairs officer in Fishman’s United States Attorney's Office, said it is “reviewing” whether federal laws were violated when Christie aides authorized access lane closures to the busy George Washington Bridge in September as part of a political vendetta. The closures clogged traffic in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and on Wednesday, news broke that Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's deputy chief of staff, had ordered the lane closures as apparent political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who didn't endorse Christie in his 2013 re-election campaign.

Fishman, who became U.S. attorney in 2009, has a sizable resume. He was assistant U.S. attorney from 1983 to 1994, served as a senior adviser to the attorney general from 1994 to 1997 and was a partner at Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman from 1998 to 2009. Fishman graduated magna cum lade from Princeton University and cum lade from Harvard Law School.

Christie is also very familiar with Fishman’s office. President George W. Bush appointed Christie as U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey - the same office currently held by Fishman - in 2001 where he gained a reputation for rooting out political corruption in the Garden State. The office was a springboard for Christie, who left the post in 2008 after Obama entered the White House, and opted to run for his first term as governor in 2009.

Here is a list of Fishman’s individual donations, according to the FEC:

$1000 to Frank Lautenberg for Senate November 4, 2008
$1000 to Jeanne Shaheen for Senate on September 18, 2008
$500 to John Alder for Congress on March 3, 2008
$2,300 to Hillary Clinton for President on June 30, 2007
$500 to Phyllis Busansky for Congress on September 30, 2006
$250 to Democratic National Committee on June 12, 2006
$1000 to Lautenberg NJ Victory Committee on March 23, 2005
$1000 to Lautenberg for Senate on March 23, 2005
$300 to Kerry Victory 2004 on August 6, 2004
$500 to John Kerry for President Inc. on June 23, 2004
$1200 to John Kerry for President Inc. on July 24, 2004
$700 to Women’s Campaign Fund on March 7, 2004
$250 to Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on October 5, 2004
$500 to John Kerry for President Inc. on June 25, 2003
$1000 to Lautenberg for Senate on November 1, 2002
$250 to Mark Pryor for Senate on October 28, 2002


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. John

    What I take from this article is that Obama is not a vindictive bully like some unmentioned governor, he appoints the man to a post after he twice donates to his rival. You think that certain unmentioned governor would have done that, or would have been a sewer across the man's driveway being worked on for two months.

    January 9, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "And I think that's just what I'm going to do tonight!"

    It has been awhile, hasn't it? Even my ever stoic husband has a very solid opinion; so yeah, I'm thinking regardless what the pundits dish out, Christie isn't coming across as great as his supporters would like.

    Especially when he allowed the lanes to remain closed (without thought of potential consequence) for four days when in fact, all he had to do was make one little phone call to Port Authorities. He may be able to skip past the "I didn't" on the first part, but not the second. He did allow the lanes to remain closed.

    January 9, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. wendel

    liar liar big pants on fire If he doesn't know whats going on in the governors then what will he know in the presidents office??? repos keep asking about what the president doesn't know. So lets here from the repos. Whats fat's gonna do ???? Lost of bully stories around just ask the his staff

    January 9, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. Tom

    All this about Christie but nothing about the CINC we have that doesn't trust his military leaders and doesn't have the back of troops that are being put into harms way serving our country. Our troops are dying because Obama does not have an effective foreign policy. Our troops are dying because Obama throws away our allies and helps our enemies. Our troops are dying because Obama is a traitor and he deserves a traitors fate.

    January 9, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    Especially when he allowed the lanes to remain closed (without thought of potential consequence) for four days when in fact, all he had to do was make one little phone call to Port Authorities. He may be able to skip past the "I didn't" on the first part, but not the second. He did allow the lanes to remain closed.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Exactly Lynda.
    FOUR DAYS.
    Four days where he did NOTHING. His state was on the front page of OTHER state's newspapers for almost four days behind something negative, and he did NOTHING.
    Not a phone call. Not an inquiry as to who had authorized these lane closings.
    Nothing.
    That, Lynda, is the part that no one seems to want to address, much less the big man himself.

    P.S.
    He is losing weight, didja notice babe? As hard to do as quitting other bad habits. Good for him.

    January 9, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. ItsAMirage

    So the Reps attack back. People....when the Supreme Justices have political sides.....EVERYONE has a political side. And if Reps are mad that a Democratic donor is in charge of this investigation...well too bad.
    Sorry, I was just picturing Faux News if a democratic governor had done this...

    January 9, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Deltron N'Ganbgo

    So basically this proves that Hillary Clinton is swine. This should eliminate her from all consideration for 2016.

    January 9, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Even my ever stoic husband has a very solid opinion;
    -------------------------------------------------
    Oooh, if your husband has weighed in (and I know he is still a Republican if I recall correctly) then Christie is not going to come out of this as unscathed as the "usual suspects" on this thread and the we're-only-in-this-for-the-money media would have us believe.

    January 9, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Yeah? So? Clarence Thomas is a Justice of The Supreme Court and his wife LOBBYS for the right wing!

    January 9, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. shorething

    no bias in this investigation at all....(sarcasm) Dems know Obama has failed and they know he made them ALL look bad.

    January 9, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Tom

    Let's talk about people having to pay higher premiums for their 'Affordable' healthcare if they live in a state that didn't support the supreme idiots reelection. I guess that kind of revenge is forgive able, huh? How come libturd shave such a double standard?

    January 9, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. Darrell

    Looks like someone from the Christie camp is already scared. Is this the best they can do? Besides, the U. S. Attorney is a political appointee. Unless there's substantial evidence that Fishman engaged in any hatchet jobs, CNN should be embarrassed for this piece.

    January 9, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. Thomas

    @Jeff Brown in Jersey
    Yeah? So? Clarence Thomas is a Justice of The Supreme Court and his wife LOBBYS for the right wing!
    ========

    Thanks for the memories !

    January 9, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. tom l

    The left is so funny today. They're absolutely hysterical. How many articles on here about Cristie today....15? I remember when they were complaining about all of the articles about the ACA/website problems and they had the audacity to claim that CNN was biased against dems. I think that between Rudy, Sniffit, rs (although he appears to be reasonable with his comments), The Real TP, DMFO, Lynda (sorry but I had to mention you even though I know you don't like when I do that), Marie, Wake Up, Tampa Tim and the rest they must be into the high 100's now with comments, and all gloating for some reason.

    Obviously, since I lean to the right, I am more open than all of you to listen to his explanation just like you are more open to listen to democrats. A key fact is that the mayor of Fort Lee has accepted him at his word and that says something. So far, and this is a man with zero track record of any scandals or improprieties, he appears to have not done anything nefarious. He's not perfect and certainly guilty of some things like not questioning the traffic more, but that's with hindsight. Isn't it possible that since his aides supposedly misled him and lied to him that they could have also not told him about how bad the traffic was? Of course that's possible IF Christie is telling the truth. If he didn't tell the truth, then we'll know. Again, he is guilty of not paying closer attention to the bridge traffic but, much like you properly point out that Obama can't possibly know everything, it's highly possible to think he didn't know about traffic on the bridge when you match it up with all of the other evidence that we know as of this time. He is guilty of trusting his staff too much but that's understandable.

    He stood up and apologized. He took responsibility and was humble. He owned up to every issue and didn't deflect whatsoever. He did what was proper in taking action on those that were responsible. Those idiots on his staff were not only childish and vindictive, but dangerous. It is a good thing they are gone due to their inane actions and should suffer some personal repercussions. Christie answered every single question that was asked. He was there for 2 hours. It's certainly not great that he didn't know. But it you are being fair, it is highly possible that he didn't know and there is zero evidence to the contrary at this point. Everything else, and I would say there were hundreds of these types of comments, is complete speculation, conjecture and you know nothing for sure.

    Oh, and Tampa and Rudy and Jeff, since I was home from work sick today I was able to watch cnn and fox. Fox carried the entire new conference and was all over the story all day. You guy incorrectly stated earlier that they brushed this story to the side. You all made up your comments about Fox and that says so much about you.

    January 9, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    This was ALWAYS about a political attack form the Dems.......and never was about anything else. Hillary was falling behind in the polls.

    January 9, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    wendel

    liar liar big pants on fire If he doesn't know whats going on in the governors then what will he know in the presidents office???
    -------------------------------------------------
    True. True.
    There is that to consider.

    January 9, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. sly

    "I was misfed"

    January 9, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oooh, if your husband has weighed in (and I know he is still a Republican if I recall correctly) then Christie is not going to come out of this as unscathed as the "usual suspects" on this thread and the we're-only-in-this-for-the-money media would have us believe.
    ------------

    Yep. Got a big fat .... well, you know the word ... on Christie's presser. Then he looked at me kinda hang dogged and apologized for his outburst. What was a girl to do but give her guy a big bear hug filled with sympathy?

    January 9, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  19. Mellowme

    Tom, try to stay on topic! Not everything in the world leads back to Obama!

    January 9, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. tom l

    And after reading the resume for the investigator, if he did anything wrong it certainly will be found. Can you imagine the hysteria of the left if a person that donated to repubs only investigated any of the Obama scandals?

    But I would only hope he is a man of integrity (and hve no reason to believe otherwise) and does the right thing and not go all Kenneth Starr on this. Stay focused on this investigation and let's see what turns up.

    January 9, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Answer to today's Jeopardy's Daily Double:
    Who is Chris Christie.

    Question:
    This ex-New Jersey Governor will be seen nowhere near the White House in 2016 or beyond.

    January 9, 2014 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    What was a girl to do but give her guy a big bear hug filled with sympathy?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Atta girl!!
    The Republican Chris Christies may come, drop a load, and go, but your guy will be with you forever babe!!
    Give him a hug for me!

    January 9, 2014 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    tom l
    Isn't it possible that since his aides supposedly misled him and lied to him that they could have also not told him about how bad the traffic was? Of course that's possible
    -------------------------------------------------
    About as possible as the Governor of New Jersey not knowing how to read a newspaper, or understand what a single photo of that bridge traffic was conveying....
    You stayed home sick today tom l so I am going to chalk this up to you over-medicating on Nyquil or something.
    Feel better and goodnight dude.

    January 9, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. belinda

    So what? Most attorneys share the same politics as their clients. Look at Christies lawyer.

    January 9, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. Freedom Ain't Free

    Christie is done....finished.

    January 9, 2014 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
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